The Texting Game.
You met, exchanged numbers, and are now exploring the possibility of a romantic relationship. Ideally, phone calls are the next best way of getting to know someone after face to face interaction. Calling the person you are dating is now considered 'old school' and chivalrous, and it shows you care to hear their voice and get to know them right away. But there is something about texting that you can’t beat. Whether it’s actually having the words in front of you to read... or re-read over and over again (c’mon, we’ve all been there), or grins that go from ear to ear after receiving a sweet message, texting is the new form of conversation and flirting, and often the first means of getting to know your potential partner.
Then comes the hard part. Interpreting the text, or sometimes, the non-text. I spent many a night with my former roommate, sitting on the floor with a glass of wine, trying to figure out the texting game we now have to play when it comes to dating. Conversations would often go something like this…
“What does he mean by that?”
“Seriously, how am I supposed to respond to that?”
“If he uses one more exclamation point, I’m done.”
“Why hasn’t he texted me back yet?”
“Should I say this, or is it too soon?”
“Should I text him back right now… or wait 8 more minutes?”
The downfall of texting is there is plenty of room for interpreting a message wrong. Something as simple as a smiley face could send the other person into a fit of frustration, or into a fit of love.
So how do you avoid getting caught up in this game that can cause so much confusion?
The golden rule of texting is less is more. I cannot stress enough that going overboard on your texting in the first critical weeks of your budding relationship will not give you the results you want. Keep texts simple by leaving the majority of your connection to your face to face interactions. Sending an inside joke, a short compliment, or arranging details of plans via text are all encouraged while dating. Sending long emotional texts, x's and o's and multiple smiley faces or emojis, or an excessive amount is highly discouraged. While some move faster than others in relationships, it's always best to play it safe. All of the mushy stuff can come later when you have both established that you are in a committed, mutual relationship.
The most important point is to realize that a text is just simply that… a text. If a person wants to see you, they will let you know – whether it’s a phone call, or actually arranging to see you, you cannot have a relationship purely through texting (at least not a long and fulfilling one!). Texting, if done right and naturally, is a way to share inside jokes, compliments, or pictures of happenings in your life. Or, when in the later stages of dating, a way to send thoughts of encouragement or sweet nothings to your partner.
So, when you get discouraged about the way your “texting relationship” is going, pick up the phone and call that person. Ask them how they are feeling, and truly get to know them by talking or meeting up in person. Taking the lead (guys, I'm talking to you) and making the first call sets the tone for the relationship. Be intentional. Show them you care.